Top 10 Features that Make you Appear More Trustworthy

Makeup a Secret Weapon
Makeup a Secret Weapon

Top 10 Features that Make you More Trustworthy

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an age old saying we should all follow. However, various scientific studies have shown that we can’t exactly help it-our brains automatically come up with a first impression based on what we see. When we meet someone for the first time, different visual cues heavily influence how we feel whether we know it or not. We know you’re a curious bunch, so we give you the different features that can make people trust you more- or less. Read on!


10. Brown Eyes

Brown Eyes
Brown Eyes = Trust


Researchers over at the Charles University were interested in how eye colour affects trustworthiness and conducted a study that led to some notable finds. The study involved 238 participants who had to rate 80 faces placed before them. These were rated for trustworthiness, attractiveness and dominance. The researchers found that whatever the ratings for attractiveness and dominance, all 238 participants agreed that brown eyed people were more reliable. Switching up the eyes led to an even more interesting conclusion! It wasn’t just the eye color that led to perceived trust, but also the facial morphology associated with brown eyes. Looks like Destiny’s Child got it right!  


9. Broad Chins

Broad Chins
Broad Chins. Would you like to buy some ocean front property in Idaho?

The same study from Charles University analysed the associated facial morphology with brown-eyed faces. Amongst all the faces that were rated trustworthy, the brown-eyed subjects that had broad chins and bigger mouths were the most common. This was especially true for men. The blue-eyed counterparts used in the study had more angular chins and narrower mouths and were dubbed less trustworthy than those with the opposite traits. Looks like having a prominent chin is more of an asset than we first thought. No wonder Jay Leno was such a successful host!


8. Symmetrical Faces

Symetry = Trust. Apparently it also = hot.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It seems the eye values symmetry a lot, because balanced features are one of the most typified indicators of beauty. Whether we know it or not, the ideal figure showcased in media, arts, and day-to-day living tends to display symmetrical figures. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, symmetry is one of the greatest indicators of perceived beauty. When people think you’re pretty, attractive, or the ideal, they tend to gravitate towards you. People tend to trust others who have attractive, welcoming features. Symmetrical features are able As an added bonus, symmetrical faces seem welcoming and warm even when they’re not expressing much, contributing to their trustworthiness.  


7. Prominent, high inner eyebrows

High Eyebrows
High Eyebrows will make you trustworthy. Strange Shirt/Design Thingy optional.

Studies have found that the features we tend to trust aren’t just the pretty ones, but those that are related to happiness. Researchers took the faces that people dubbed “trustworthy” and exaggerated the expressions in them. They found that these faces always express a look of happiness. The opposite of resting-bitch-face, resting-happy-face gives off irresistible trustworthy vibes. One key trait that defines this expression is a set of prominent, arching inner eyebrows. As opposed to the grumpy, furrowed eyebrows of a frowning face, “happy” eyebrows make a face seem more cheerful. Apparently the saying that positive vibes rub off on others is true, because having these brows make people trust you more!   6. Wide, upturned mouths Like the previous trait, having a wide, upturned mouth is strongly associated with expressions of happiness. If you have a wide mouth, it seems as though you’re smiling even when you’re not. Lucky you, you have resting-happy-face! This facial trait is generally combined with a broad face and brown eyes. Unlike angular, pinched looking faces, you just strike people as a happy guy. While this has strong potential to get irritating, you’re lucky because people just trust you more, you bright ball of sunshine, you! If you actually are a happy camper most of the time, even better!  

5. Pronounced cheekbones

Ms. Cheekbones Keira Knightley
Ms. Cheekbones Keira Knightley

Featureflash /

Have you ever heard of a physiognomic snapshot? Probably not, unless you’re Nikolaas Oosterhof or Alexander Todorov from Princeton’s psychology department. Their studies have shown that this snapshot is how we form our first impressions of another person’s trustworthiness. The pair took an in-depth look at people’s micro-reactions to a specific set of faces, and found that faces with pronounced cheekbones were trustworthy. This facial structure was almost always paired with the aforementioned high inner eyebrows. Shallow cheekbones, on the other hand, seemed untrustworthy for some reason. Next time you find yourself trusting that girl with the high cheekbones and dimples, you know why!  

4. Ready Smiles

Sofia Vergara Ready Smile
Sofia Vergara Always Has a Smile at the Ready.

DFree /

We have mentioned that attractiveness and good looks tend to make up people’s trustworthiness levels. A study in Rice University done by Rick Wilson found the same correlation, and more. The same study found that people who smiled more and expressed happiness readily were seen as more trustworthy. The kicker is that there is a positive correlation between trusted individuals and a higher paycheck. That’s right! The easier it is for people to trust you, the easier it is for your leadership skills to develop. People who are better leaders tend to rise in the workforce. The typical boss may seem straight faced and authoritative, but in fact, smiley faces get your subordinates to work better in the long run!

3. Makeup- For Women

Makeup a Secret Weapon
Makeup a Secret Weapon

A psychologist from the Université François-Rabelais named Dr. Arnaud Aubert says that properly-applied makeup can enhance another person’s social assessment of you. When we meet someone, the brain focuses on the central part of the face. A whole lot of non-verbal communication occurs in a matter of milliseconds, and that’s when we build first impressions. With less distractions from the face, the more non-verbal communication occurs. Through this, correcting flaws and making the central part or “social triangle” of the face more appealing helps promote trust. Excuse us, we’ll just be powdering our noses!  

2. Hair on the head and not on the face- for men

Unruly Beard
Unruly Beard = untrustworthy and probably smelly.

If it’s makeup that helps make a woman, a man’s hair is a big deal. The Times conducted a survey in which “60% of businessmen without beards or moustaches feel that these features are a bad sign.” According to their responses, they perceive people with unkempt facial hair as either lazy to shave or hiding something. Whether they think the person’s hiding something in their beard or it’s just a weird subconscious instinct, people in the professional world tend to view a clean shaven face as more trustworthy. Having neat hair shows that you have some sense of responsibility with your reputation and image, and this helps others trust you easier. Of course, taking it to the extreme and obsessing over your image will make others think you’re a neurotic narcissist, so balance is key!

1. “Babyfaces”

Baby Face Neal McDonough
Baby Face Neal McDonough

Everett Collection /

Other than the knee-jerk reaction to pinch their cheeks, people also have a strong tendency to trust people with babyfaces. Take a look at a cute, cuddly baby- would you ever think they were capable of anything evil? Of course, if you’re seeing baby fat and wide-eyed innocence on a 60-year old, the effect isn’t as potent. A study led by Ifat Moaz in the Hebrew University disagrees, however. Subtly modifying images of fictional politicians, they found that subjects trusted the baby faced on more. The next time you want someone to put their faith in you, pull out your best Puss in Boots cute face- it just might work!